Hearst-Argyle Reports Q1 Results

Apr 29, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Strong advertising in automotive, retail and furniture helped station group Hearst-Argyle Television soften the blow of a sharp decline in political advertising, according to first-quarter financial data the company released Friday.

The New York-based owner or operator of 28 television stations, reported a 27 percent decline in first-quarter profit to $13.1 million, compared with $17.9 million a year ago. Revenue slipped 3 percent to $162.3 million.

The company said an effort to replace a substantial amount of the lost political advertising dollars garnered last year was a big factor behind Friday’s results. Hearst-Argyle booked just $700,000 in political advertising in the 2005 quarter, compared with $10.1 million a year ago.

However, the company was able to partially offset that loss of business by registering gains in several core advertising areas, as well as benefiting from the improved prime-time ratings at its ABC affiliates.

The company said that ABC’s loss of Monday Night Football, while likely to impact local ABC affiliates, won’t hurt the overall company because its NBC affiliates can make up the loss with that network’s coverage of NFL games.